Discussion questions – Sense And Sensibility Volume 3 : Marianne grows increasingly ill

Marianne grows increasingly ill, her body infected and weakened. When characters get sick and their sickness becomes a significant element of the plot, we need to ask questions about what the author is doing with that character, his/her sickness, and how the sickness/disease might be related to other ideas in the novel. The body of a character is a space marked by gender, class, race and ideology. Marianne’s death would mean certain things to the outcome of the novel, just as her recovery would mean certain things to the outcome of the novel. Her sickness provides opportunities for other characters to confront certain issues as well. Thus the sick body becomes a kind of narrative opportunity for the novelist to bring out certain issues and conflicts in the text. How does Marianne’s illness affect Elinor, Col. Brandon, the Palmers, Willoughby, Sir John and Marianne herself. What revelation is made by Willoughby?

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